In this post, you will learn about the difference between data science and decision science. Those venturing out to learn data science must understand whether they want to learn data science or decision science or both. The following are some of the key questions in relation to understanding the concepts related to data science and decision science.
- What is data science & decision science?
- When do we need data and decision science as part of the analytics strategy?
- Are there specialized courses for decision science?
- What are some good websites for decision sciences?
What is Data Science & Decision Science?
While Data science is used to extract insights from the data after performing data preparation activities, decision science helps make the decision based on the insights with an aim to solve business problems. Decision science integrates analytical and behavioral approaches to decision making. Decision science depends on data science to extract insights from the data. The decision science field integrates and builds upon data sciences by adding business context, design thinking, and behavioral sciences.
Data scientists look at the data to extract insights and build models of high accuracy without caring much overall impact on business outcomes. However, decision scientists see data as a tool to make decisions. For decision scientists, the business problem is of paramount importance. Unlike data scientists, decision scientists need to have both business acumen and analytical ability.
Decision Sciences is an interdisciplinary field that draws on applied probability, economics, operations research, machine learning, statistical decision theory, forecasting, and cognitive psychology. Decision sciences provide tools and analytics methods/techniques using which managers can improve on decision making. These techniques range from sharpening statistical intuition to quantitative decision analysis. The following are some of the research areas in the field of decision sciences:
- Decision making under uncertainty
- Individual and group decision making
- Optimized decision making using Machine learning & AI
When do we go for data and decision sciences as part of analytics strategy?
In a complex business environment, where improved decision-making could impact the business in a positive manner, it will be good to have both data science and decision science teams. Decision scientists will work with data scientists to help managers make better decisions resulting in positive business outcomes.
As a matter of fact, it will be good to have all of the following teams as part of solid analytics strategy:
- Data engineering team: Helps with data processing
- Data sciences team: Helps with extracting insights in relation to business problems
- Decision sciences team: Helps with better and optimal decison making
Decision scientists are rarer than data scientists as they blend business, math, technology and behavioral science and are “both precise and good with communication.”
Are there specialized courses for Decision Sciences?
Here are some links which could take you to specialized courses for decision sciences:
- Decision Science (BS) from CMU: Decision science major from CMU covers the following topics:
- Normative analysis, creating formal models of choice
- Descriptive research, studying how cognitive, emotional, social, and institutional factors affect judgment and choice
- Prescriptive interventions, seeking to improve judgment and decision making.
- Decision Sciences from IIM Bengaluru: Decision sciences course is offered as a specialization course under the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) program from IIM Bengaluru. The course covers lectures on operation research (OR) methods, statistical methods including Bayesian and multivariate statistics, time-series forecasting, etc.
- Decision sciences from INSEAD
- Decision science-related courses from Coursera: There are several courses from Coursera which are related to data-driven decision making. Some of them are the following:
What are some good websites for Decision Sciences?
Here are some good websites for decision sciences:
Here is a great video from chief decision scientists of Google, Dr. Cassie Kozyrkov
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